Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: (Mostly) Highs and (Scattered) Lows

Looking back at 2015:
January: Getting my first 3D printed minis from Hero Forge. Fragile, with detail equivalent to a mass-produced WotC plastic mini, but so, so cool to be able to customize the gear, face, hair, build, and pose. And they keep adding more options, including mounted figures. If only it didn't cost so much -- I hope that the production cost comes down over time.
Also added the Pixie hero class to Dungeonteller.
February: Another Dungeonteller hero class added: the Ranger, who comes with a choice of faithful animal companions. Two enormous expansions went live this month: Venture Hold, a huge Dungeonteller adventure with 8 eye-popping hand-drawn maps, and Big Hexyland 2, a sequel to my modular megahex campaign map set. A massive series of snowstorms here in New England gave me a captive audience for tons of gaming, as I ran my daughter and the neighbors through Venture Hold.
March: I hate March. I slogged through it working on...
April: ...MonsterMore, which went live this month. It included 13 new Dungeonteller monsters to supplement the dozens already available in the Monster Book. My favorites are the pitch dragon and the nimblewing, really proud of this book.
May: I was very much pumped to get busy developing Rock Opera '79 and did my usual avoid-burnout-tactic of alternating between the illustrations and the text. Managed to keep working on it through August but haven't done much with it since.
June: RPGs for parents-and-kids really came into their own this year, after a quiet build over the last few years. The popularity of small press games like Hero Kids has nudged bigger players like Monte Cook and WotC to re-skin their existing RPGs for the kid market (check out No Thank You, Evil! and Monster Slayers to see what I mean). I love both of these companies and envy their production values, but no thank you, Monty, and don't coast, wizards. Support kids' RPGs that have been made for kids from the ground up instead of watered-down junior versions of existing product.
July: Some people whose work I respect and admire walked out in a huff when some other people whose work I respect and admire won an award. Next time, let's keep it about the work and not about your personal feelings about the people who make it.
August: This really was the summer of discontent in the RPG world. A horrible game supplement appeared on DTRPG and we complained about it. It disappeared from the site and the site owner made plans to create a protocol for handling any subsequent complaints about offensive products. Then came the Lamentations of the Drama Kings, with grumblings about censorship that didn't acknowledge that this was happening on a for-profit, commercial site that had a right to refuse to sell products that would reflect badly on the site or on the hobby generally. I've been monitoring the story closely, and the number of did-I-mention-my-games-are-totally-edgy-and-NSFW that have been removed from DTRPG since are approximately zero.
September: A prodigal child returned this month, as Northern Crown: New World Adventures was Kickstarted to be retooled for Pathfinder. I have very little to do with it and no clue what the final product is going to look like but hope for the best. I got too busy running games to blog much about them. Enjoyed running a Usagi Yojimbo campaign using the Fuzion system (loved the setting, not crazy about the system)...
October: ...and a Marvel universe supers campaign using Dungeonteller.
November: I don't know where you went, November. I got back into miniature wargaming in a big way as a means of keeping myself occupied over the long winter...
December: ...and here at year's end I have enough terrain and Micro Armour to run some platoon-level wargames using a set of rules I'm developing, tentatively called Stars and Crosses.
I hope you had a great year in gaming and will find an even better one in 2016. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Devils of Dungeonteller

I like giving classic monsters a tweak or two. In Dungeonteller Fantasy RPG, orcs are the lowest ranks of the infernal army. I decided to tie my orcs to the original meaning of the Old English word "orc", which was "demon" or "devil." And so, Dungeonteller orcs are summoned by wizards as dim-witted, ferocious minions who stick around until slain or dismissed. When I'm GMing for my kid and her friends, I play up the orcs' lack of any instinct for self-preservation, perhaps related to the existential boredom of standing around for decades guarding someone's basement. When orcs talk among themselves, they share self-administered excruciating experiences they've had, in the manner of Christopher Guest's and Billy Crystal's Willie and Frankie characters from SNL. "Talk about painful..."
When an orc has survived for a few hundred years, it gets promoted to one-horned devil. The number of horns on your head symbolizes your rank in the hellish army. I got this idea from an Irish folktale called "The Witch of One Horn" that used to scare the Bejeebus out of me as a kid. One-horned devils are big lugs who can toss you aside with a flick of their horn or jab you with a perpetually red-hot poker. If they do well, they're promoted to two-horned devils, with barbed, prehensile tails, who act as both the jailers and border guards of the infernal regions. Three-horned devils are decidedly more intelligent. They are the front-line commanders and interrogators of the devilish legion.
Orcs are in the Dungeonteller Monster Book, which is bundled into the Dungeonteller Complete PDF set linked to above. The horned devils appear in the MonsterMore monster supplement. I'm sure there are more powerful devils with even more horns, but no Dungeonteller heroes in my campaign have even encountered the two-horned variety yet, so there's plenty of time.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Puzzled about Dungeon World

I have read through Dungeon World and the jargon made my brain hurt. I just can't get my head around how it actually plays. I know that some folks really love the game and I'm not questioning their enthusiasm for it, but before I make another attempt to understand it, I would like to know:
What existing flaw or limitation in traditional RPGs does Dungeon World address that makes it worthwhile to play? I'm not grasping its raison d'etre.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Dungeonteller Con Squad is On the Move!

If you live in the midwest USA and are going to WinterWar, why not play some Dungeonteller hosted by David Thiel, out latest Dungeonteller Con Squad Captain?

The details:

Winter War: January 29-31, 2016 at the Hawthorn Suites in Champaign, IL.
Saturday 9 AM: Dungeonteller: The Terrible Tunnels of Turvog-Ti (4 hrs)Role Playing Game  |  Dungeonteller  | 6 of 6 Seats Left Newcomers Welcome  | All Ages (6+)  | $2.00

Presented By : David Thiel
Dungeonteller is an easy-to-learn fantasy RPG designed for kids and their game-curious grown-ups. experienced monster-bashers will enjoy it as well! Who is Turvog-Ti, and why does he annually invite adventurers to brave his twisted tunnels? Some believe he will bestow a valuable prize upon those who reach the bottom. Some believe that those other people are kidding themselves, and that Turvog-Ti's pets have grown hungry again since last year. Who's right? Will you find out? Will you be lunch?

Note that ages 6+ are welcome! Can your RPG do that?
For running the game, David is getting MonsterMore, Venture Hold, Big Hexyland, and Ultimate Hand-drawn Iso Counters FREE. A value of $14!

I hope all you Prairie Staters out there will bring your kids to game with David!